Three years ago, when I started my journey at Tides, the murder of George Floyd, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the economic downturn had laid bare some harsh truths about our society: People of color and low-income communities remain dangerously and disproportionately vulnerable to state-sanctioned violence, racial trauma, and health and economic inequities. As a social justice philanthropic organization, we — the Tides staff, board, and our broader ecosystem of partners — were compelled to embark on a journey of reflection, critical conversations, and action to deepen and affirm Tides’ commitment and impact to achieve and sustain justice and equity. What was clear to us was the urgent need to shift power to proximate leaders and communities who’d been historically denied it. It also became evident that we had to leverage our unique position as a trusted partner to both movement leaders working in under-resourced communities and donors seeking guidance on directing investments.
Today, I’m honored and energized to share our new strategic direction with you. We have a new mission and vision, which state our belief that a just and equitable future can only exist when communities who have been historically denied power have it. Shifting and strengthening the power of proximate leaders and their communities is now at the heart of our work. As part of this strategic shift, we’re providing coaching, cybersecurity and fundraising trainings, grant writing support, financial management professional development, and other power building opportunities to our fiscally sponsored projects, growing their capacity to effectively run their organizations and meet their missions. We’ve developed a new set of grantmaking best practices, offering our donor partners actionable insights for rooting their work in grantee-centered practices. And we’ve launched a new, aligned brand identity and website to reflect our ethos as a transformative philanthropic organization committed to working across the social sector to advance social justice.
As I shared in my new year message, there has never been a more critical time for our work. As we enter what is undoubtedly another pivotal election cycle, we are all aware that there are major threats to our vision of a healthy and inclusive democracy. In times like these, we must continue to center equity and justice in everything we do, and shift power, money, and resources to protect democracy in 2024 and beyond.
We also recognize that fueling lasting change requires collective movement power. Tides is committed to bringing together our diverse network of donors and doers to urgently move resources to the proximate leaders on the frontlines of social justice, as well as facilitating knowledge sharing and social sector collaboration to drive systems change.
As we embark on the next phase of this journey together, we seek your support. We don’t have all the answers, but we will follow the lead of proximate changemakers and their communities and partner with donors who are energized to mobilize their assets in service of justice. We are committed to being a force for social justice and we’re calling on you to join us.